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2024 will see key developments in 5G, business messaging, AI adoption, fraud and more.

From 5G adoption and the evolution of messaging channels to the growing challenges of fraud and the integration of AI, this blog post explores the trends that will shape the telecoms industry over the next twelve months.

Building the Use Case for 5G Networks

While 5G adoption has been gradual, 2024 is expected to witness a significant surge in its prevalence worldwide. 5G’s ultra-fast speeds, high bandwidth and low latency will enable innovative use cases like smart cities, virtual reality, IoT and more to become a reality, meaning telecom operators will need to invest heavily in 5G infrastructure to remain competitive.

Private 5G networks and the implementation of network slicing will play a pivotal role in unlocking the potential of 5G, with the launch of 5G Advanced enhancing capabilities further still.

Private 5G Networks

Private 5G networks are a key means for monetizing the 5G opportunity in the enterprise customer segment. According to GSMA research, half of operators expect private networks to account for more than 10% of total enterprise revenues by the end of 2025. This will continue to grow as 5G equipment and devices become more readily available.

As enterprises and governments look to digital transformation to boost their business improvement strategies, 5G technology and private networks will enable responses to the “new normal” of remote working and a reduction in on-site personnel, by enabling data connectivity to feed cloud applications and meeting the increased needs of industrial IoT and edge computing.

Network Slicing

Network slicing allows for the creation of multiple, distinct virtual networks over a shared physical infrastructure. This architecture is key to addressing the diverse and specific needs of 5G applications, and enables 5G service providers to scale their networks flexibly and cost-effectively.

5G network slicing offers a number of potential use cases and business models across various industries including healthcare, gaming, IoT, autonomous vehicles, augmented and virtual reality and more. This creates new revenue streams for telecom operators.

Apple’s decision to adopt RCS messaging in 2024 has sent ripples through the messaging industry. This move not only signifies a shift towards enhanced P2P messaging but also opens up new opportunities for brands to enhance customer communication.

With RCS usage already growing, the adoption of Apple support (and with it more than one billion iPhone users) is set to supercharge the growth of RCS messaging in 2024 and beyond.

Apple’s announcement also brings cross-platform business messaging closer to reality. Despite its more basic features compared to other messaging channels such as OTT, SMS has long been the messaging channel of choice for business messaging because of its unparalleled reach. RCS messaging offers enterprises the ability to combine the best of both worlds.

RCS business messaging will offer enterprises a host of features and benefits above and beyond basic text messages, such brand & sender verification to show skeptical recipients that they can be trusted, the ability to send rich media such as images, video and GIFs, and suggested responses and actions for customers, making it a perfect channel for business messaging.

As we progress into 2024, omni-channel messaging solutions will empower businesses to communicate seamlessly across multiple channels, from traditional text-only messages to AI-driven interactions.

As telecom operators introduce new and advanced solutions for their customers, the threat of messaging fraud looms larger. As fraudsters adapt their strategies, staying ahead of the latest trends in messaging fraud needs to be a top priority for telcos.

AIT Accelerates A2P Messaging Fraud

A2P messaging has become a valuable messaging channel for businesses, enabling enterprises to utilize two-factor authentication (2FA) and send notifications and other marketing messages. Unfortunately, bad actors are also taking advantage of A2P messaging through grey route fraud, smishing and AIT.

AIT represents a major threat to enterprises and the business messaging industry, with more than 43 percent of businesses experiencing AIT in recent years.

The Messaging Fraud Battle Moves to OTT

As more businesses look to RCS or omnichannel messaging solutions in 2024, we expect messaging fraud to increase on these channels. Unfortunately, SMS alternatives such as RCS or OTT channels are less equipped to protect their networks from bad actors.

OTT channels have long been the method of choice for end-users when it comes to P2P messaging, but as businesses look to OTT & RCS for business messaging, telecom operators will need to invest heavily in fraud protection solutions, or risk losing out on a significant revenue stream. Without the firewall protection that telcos offer for SMS channels, businesses will be exposed to fraud attacks. Telecom operators may move to insert themselves into the RCS A2P channel in order to gain visibility and control over messages in the OTT space to respond to this threat.

AI continues to be a driving force across all industries, and the telecoms market is no exception. Telecom operators across the messaging ecosystem are set to leverage AI advancements to enhance efficiency across their networks in 2024. Generative AI in particular will play a key role in shaping conversational commerce and differentiating CPaaS providers.

Generative AI & Conversational Commerce

Since the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in November 2022 generative and conversational AI has gained immense traction and popularity. Generative AI, which automates generation of new digital content, will revolutionize the way that enterprises communicate with their customers. Enterprises, with the support of CPaaS providers & other operators will now be able to provide an omnichannel experience for their customers, with chatbots & other methods of conversational commerce. Generative AI will be used to provide personalized content such as product descriptions, social media messages, email follow-ups and other tailored conversational interactions with customers.

Fighting Fire with Fire: AI-Powered Fraud Prevention

Machine learning, generative AI, predictive analytics and other intelligent solutions are making operators faster and smarter. Unfortunately, bad actors also have access to these tools – and they are putting them to work. Cybercriminals now have the means and opportunity to launch sophisticated and highly effective attacks against businesses and individuals alike.

As systems become more complex, fraudsters are continuously evolving their tactics, making conventional security measures, such as static firewalls, insufficient. To combat this, operators are turning to advanced technologies such as AI and machine learning to enhance their fraud detection and prevention measures. Utilizing AI will enable operators to leverage real-time data analysis, interpretation, and prediction to identify and flag potential threats.

As with every other industry, the world of telecommunications is constantly evolving. Today, most modern applications are built to utilize the cloud. To stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive, telecom operators will continue to shift their infrastructure and services to the cloud, reducing their reliance on proprietary hardware.

In 2024 and beyond, telecom operators will adopt cloud-based 5G core networks and other cloud services, allowing for more flexibility and speed of innovation. Network Function Virtualization (NFV) will allow network functions such as messaging routing to be delivered by software.

Telecom operators will turn to open source companies such as Amazon Web Services, Google, IBM, etc., to turn these potential opportunities into real world implementations and create new offerings for their customers faster than by developing their own software.

As we navigate the complexities of 2024, telecom operators will find themselves at the forefront of an era defined by 5G advancements, messaging channel revolutions and the battle against fraudsters. The key to success will lie in adaptability and innovation.

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